AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Final – Gneeveguilla (Kerry) 1-11 St. Breckans (Clare) 0-7

St Breckan’s are blitzed

BY JOE O MUIRCHEARTAIGH for the Clare People newspaper

Gneeveguilla (Kerry) 1-11 – St Breckan’s 0-07 at The Gaelic Grounds, Limerick

MIKO Russell in the St Breckan’s corner over Johnny Leary in the Gneeveguilla corner. We said this confidently last week when parsing this impending football battle down how things would go if traditional music instruments were to be taken out for play. Alas, doubling it up by saying St Breckan’s over Gneeveguilla when it came to football wasn’t for this Munster final day – not by as many jigs, reels, polkas and slides that Miko and Johnny could possibly have dreamt up and played in their day.

Indeed, The Last Post was sounded on this one-sided provincial decider long before the end as Gneeveguilla showed that when it comes to football, there’s no tradition like the Kerry tradition. It was catch and kick and much more as they blitzed St Breckan’s in most departments to continue Kerry’s dominance of the intermediate club championship when it comes to Munster – the fifth time in a row that the title has been won by Kerry.

And, there was little St Breckan’s could do to stop this latest Kerry train. They were second best in too many positions, most notably in the key battleground of midfield and didn’t possess any scoring forward bar Pat Nagle, whose points carried them to this provincial final. With these failings manifesting themselves early on, it wasn’t long before this tame provincial decider, played on the coldest day of the winter so far, descended into a mission impossible for St Breckan’s. In fact, endgame can be traced back to Michael Murphy’s stunning 16th minute goal that represented the crowning glory of a Gneeveguilla purple-patch of ten minutes when they racked up 1-4 without reply.

From being 0-2 to 0-1 down to a spirited and pumped up St Breckan’s side after six minutes, Gneeveguilla proceeded to move through the gears in auto-pilot fashion to effectively kill the game just beyond the first quarter. The qualities of John Paul Brosnan and Don Murphy at midfield were well flagged beforehand, but sometimes being forewarned isn’t forearmed as St Breckan’s were unable to gain anything approaching parity in the sector and it was from there that Gneeveguilla had the platform to power their way to this double-scores triumph. And it was one of Don Murphy’s many soaring catches that helped set Don Murphy on his way to that all-important goal, albeit that Murphy shouldn’t have been allowed an uninterrupted run of some 35 yards before blasting to the net to put his side 1-5 to 0-2 ahead.

It was finger in the dyke stuff from there on, after real hope had floated in the early exchanges when two Pat Nagle points in response to a DJ O’Connor point inside 14 seconds seemed to steel St Breckan’s for the mammoth task at hand. And, even after Gneeveguilla stretched their lead to seven points in the 24th minute thanks to Fergus McAuliffe’s point, there was still hope for the second half thanks to two late Pat Nagle points from frees pegged it back to a five-point game. When Nagle brought it back to four two minutes after the resumption, the prospect of another famous comeback to park along side the semi-final against Clashmore lingered, but only for a few minutes before Gneeveguilla responded with another blast of four points in ten minutes to kill off Breckans’ challenge for once and for all.

It was damage limitation stuff in the closing 20 minutes, but by then all the damage had been done with St Breckan’s second best by a long way. The fact that Gneeveguilla hit 1-6 from play as against only 0-2 for St Breckan’s told it’s own story, while the red cards shown to Conor Cormican and John McDonagh in the 49th and 56th minutes respectively had little bearing on the result.

Gneeveguilla

Patrick O’Riordan, Brendan Sheahan, Eoghan Lawlor, Michael B Murphy, John Sheahan, Padraig O’Connor, Danny O’Connor, John Paul Brosnan, Don Murphy, Michael Murphy (1-1), Fergus McAuliffe (0-1), DJ O’Connor (0-2), Barry O’Leary (0-3), Liam Murphy (0-4f), Donie O’Connor. Subs Gerard Moynihan for McAuliffe [57 Mins], PJ Murphy for Donie O’Connor [58 Mins], Mark Sheahan for Michael Murphy [58 Mins], Donal Murphy for DJ O’Connor [59 Mins], Timmy O’Leary for Danny O’Connor [61 Mins].

St Breckan’s

Craig Flanagan, Daniel Carey, Conor Howley, Sean Howley, Sean Cormican, Darragh Considine, Stephen Tierney (0-1), John McDonagh, Sean O’Connor, Mikey Keating, Sean Rouine, Pat Nagle (0-6, 5f), John Stack, Conor Cormican, Denis O’Driscoll. Subs Cathal Blood for Rouine [19 Mins], Cormac Ó hEithir for Stack [Half-Times], Tony McGann for Sean Howley [39 Mins], Neil Hawes for O’Connor [46 Mins], Declan Curtin for Keating [59 Mins].

Man of the Match – Don Murphy (Gneeveguilla)

Referee Michael Collins (Cork)